Father, stepmom charged after malnourished teen found chained - WNEM TV 5

Father, stepmom charged after malnourished teen found chained

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The father and stepmother of a malnourished teen that police said was handcuffed in the family's basement were charged Tuesday morning.

The boy, who says he use to weigh 140 pounds, weighed just 103 pounds when he was rescued, according to court documents. The boy remains in foster care under court supervision.

David Martin, 42, and Pamela Martin, 41, were both charged with two felony counts each. The charges are felony restraint and abuse of a child.

If convicted, the Martins could face up to seven years in prison on each count and a fine of up to $5,000.

A judge set bond at $50,000 each.

The victim's older brother was not charged. A spokesman said while the older brother was involved that he was not as culpable and as a result charges will not be filed.

The older brother's conversation with a neighbor about his brother led to the neighbor notifying authorities. Based on court documents, the older brother apparently is cooperating with investigators.

Officers and Missouri social workers responded to the Martin family home in the Northland after receiving a report from a neighbor about a boy being handcuffed to a door.

Inside, police said they found the 17-year-old teen handcuffed to a steel pole in the basement. According to court documents, the boy was thin, cold and wearing dirty clothes. Blankets on the cold floor was his sleeping area. His wrists had scars and abrasions from the handcuffs, authorities said.

The boy told officers that he had been locked in the basement since the end of September. He said he had managed to disassemble a bed he had been handcuffed to in a bid to escape. After that, he said he was handcuffed to the pole. He said he was given just oatmeal, bologna sandwiches and instant noodle soup for food.

According to court documents, the 17-year-old teen was given limited access to the bathroom and only allowed to shower once a month. The boy would often have to go up to 10 hours without access to a bathroom and would soil himself, according to authorities.

David Martin told detectives that his son was bi-polar, suffered from attention-deficit issues and "was out of control," according to court documents.

"They have not been able to afford the victim's prescribed medication. They have run out of solutions to help him. The victim digs through the trash and has assaulted his wife," David Martin allegedly told detectives.

David Martin said he needed to keep his son controlled for everyone's safety. He said he had kept him handcuffed in the basement for three weeks, according to court records.

Pamela Martin said her stepson had extreme emotional issues, saying he had been mentally and physically abusive to her in the past.

"The victim would sneak and eat a huge quantity of food if left unsupervised. In December, they began using handcuffs to restrain him so he could not sneak food or leave the residence," Pamela Martin allegedly told detectives.

She said her stepson was allowed to be upstairs and eat dinner with the family, according to court documents. She said she tried to feed him several times in December while her husband was at work, but the victim was verbally abusive and tried to kick her, according to court records. She said she didn't try to release him.

"(Pamela) Martin admitted to not giving the victim food or water," according to court records. "Martin stated she was frightened of the victim and had no other choice. Martin denied handcuffing the victim in the basement."

The boy's older brother told police that his brother was given three meals a day and water. According to court records, the brother claimed that his brother needed to be detained from hurting himself and others. He said his brother was allowed upstairs when their father was home.

An unnamed witness told authorities that David and Pamela Martin tried to get the boy help, but nothing would work. The witness said the boy was aggressive and threatening, particularly toward Pamela Martin, according to court records. But the witness disagreed with handcuffing the boy.

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